Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler are both listed as questionable for Monday night’s game against the Houston Rockets at the Wells Fargo Center.
Embiid is dealing with back tightness for the third consecutive game. The All-Star center played in the previous two, but was a game-time decision.
Meanwhile, Butler, the four-time All-Star swingman, is dealing with a sore right wrist.
The Sixers (30-17) will be at a huge disadvantage against the Rockets (27-18) without Embiid and Butler. The Rockets boast this season’s most exciting player in James Harden.
Embiid has established himself as arguably the NBA’s best center. He’s seventh in the league in scoring (27.0 points per game), fourth in rebounds (13.2) and seventh in blocked shots (1.95). The Sixers are 1-2 in games Embiid has missed this season.
He could be a huge mismatch for a Rockets squad playing without center Clint Capela, who is out with a right thumb injury.
Butler, who’s averaging 19.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and a league-fourth-best 2.07 steals. has missed four games since being acquired in a trade from the Timberwolves in November. The Sixers are 2-2 without him.
The Sixers could use Butler’s defense against Harden, the reigning league MVP.
Harden is averaging a league-best 35.7 points. He’s scored at least 32 points in each of his last 19 games.